Sale of Surplus Shotguns Leads to Demands for Destruction

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A Massachusetts police department that wants to sell nearly three dozen surplus shotguns to a local gun store to help underwrite the cost of obtaining new shotguns for officers has run into resistance from gun control activists, who instead insist that the guns in question should be destroyed rather than be resold. 


The Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition has been around a few years, and they're not shy about their fundamental goal; a ban on "semi-automatic mechanisms in firearms." But that's not their only objective. In this case, the group is trying to halt the trade of the police department's used shotguns, valued at about $4,100, because... well, because they don't want to see any guns sold to anyone, apparently. While they can't stop the lawful commerce in firearms, they're more than willing to block any sale that they can

A financial loss for the town with the destruction of the guns is nothing compared to costs associated with rising gun violence, said coalition president Nan Logan.

"We are trying to wake people up to that cost," said Logan on Wednesday. "We haven’t had any of those horrible Newtown (Sandy Hook) events here but there’s no reason why we wouldn’t."

Logan spoke at a Feb. 12 Falmouth Select Board meeting. The coalition wants the surplus guns to be destroyed so that parts cannot be resold and reused.

The 33 surplus 12-gauge shotguns are to be sold back to Jurek Brothers, a police supply vendor in Greenfield, as part of a deal to purchase new shotguns.

The shotguns have a $4,100 trade-in value, said Town Manager Mike Renshaw.

Falmouth Police Lieutenant Michael Simoneau confirmed the trade-in value. Police are waiting on a decision from Renshaw on whether the surplus weapons will be traded in, or destroyed, Simoneau said. Police Chief Jeffrey Lourie could not be immediately reached by the Times for comment.


If all of this sounds strangely familiar, it may be because the gun control group raised similar complaints just a couple of years ago, when the police department wanted to trade in 21 semi-automatic firearms to help underwrite the cost of purchasing 38 new guns for officers. In that case, the deal ended up going forward, but only after the gun shop agreed to resell the guns only to local law enforcement.

That was a dumb decision, but the local leaders in Falmouth are encouraging Town Manager Mike Renshaw to take an even more idiotic step now that the sale of the surplus shotguns has become an issue. 

 An existing town policy, said Renshaw, gives him the authority to make the final decision on whether the surplus weapons will be traded in or destroyed. Conversations between Renshaw and Lourie remain ongoing, Renshaw said. But some Select Board members wanted to explore options on how the public could donate towards the $4,100 trade-in value and the guns could be destroyed.

“I don’t want to give an impression that we’ve made the final decision and that they’re going to be destroyed," said Renshaw. "The police chief and I have not made that decision.”

The town isn't generally allowed to destroy goods paid for with municipal funds, Town Counsel Maura O'Keefe said.

"But if taxpayers exhibit a desire to destroy a particular set of goods and forego that fiduciary duty, then the Select Board would be able to go ahead and do that without undermining fiduciary duty," she said.


That's right. They want taxpayers to donate money to ensure that the shotguns will be destroyed, rather than risk them being sold through an FFL to someone who can lawfully possess a gun in Massachusetts. That means that not only would the buyer have passed a background check, but they would have been given their Second Amendment permission slip by the local police department, which has to sign off on all Class A or Class B licenses that are required to keep and bear arms in the state. ***Update*** An alert reader reminded me that Massachusetts scrapped its Class B license a few years ago, and now requires a Class C license/Firearms ID card to possess "low capacity long guns". 

Massachusetts' gun laws, as draconian as they are, simply don't go far enough for the prohibitionists who are a part of the Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition. 

Falmouth resident Mark Finneran, during the Select Board meeting, said guns in the community are not the problem but that the people using the guns are the problem.

The Rev. Deborah Warner, during the meeting, said she's ready to work with members of the Select Board and other town government leaders to fulfill citizens' fiduciary duties.

"We know what the aftermath looks like when an active shooter fires shots. We've seen footage over and over again far too often," said Warner, a rector at Church of the Messiah in Falmouth. "We can pay the price and choose to stop the flow of guns. We can do that. In fact, we must."


No, you can't, and no, you must not. We have a right to keep and bear arms, and that means we have the right to buy them. Trying to stop a mass shooting by depriving everyone of their Second Amendment rights is grossly unconstitutional as trying to prevent online sex trafficking by shutting off everyone's access to the Internet. 

The Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition isn't interested in gun "safety". Their aim is the destruction of our right to keep and bear arms. They may have picked some low-hanging fruit with their campaign to force the police department to destroy surplus firearms instead of using them as trade-ins for new ones, but they've made it abundantly clear that the guns they're really intent on destroying are in the hands of Massachusetts gun owners, and not just the Falmouth PD. 

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